Author Topic: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.  (Read 3736 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« on: June 13, 2017, 08:59:45 AM »
I've decided that Max deserves his own thread although I've posted about him before on 'Lesser known Soviet composers'. This is because I have been greatly enjoying his Symphony 4 'Turksib' (1933) which commemorates the opening of the great Turkestan-Siberian railway' (part of Stalin's first Five Year Plan). Maybe that doesn't sound very promising but I have enjoyed this work enormously. Sure, in parts it sounds like film music but that is no problem for me as the work (together with the last-ditch Violin Concerto) held my attention throughout and I found it memorably moving, fun, inspiriting and generally enjoyable. I think that admirers of Vaughan Williams will enjoy this work too. Steinberg was the teacher of Shostakovich and I've wondered if the valedictory tolling bell-like chords on the orchestral piano, during the redemptive coda to Steinberg's fine (IMHO) Second Symphony (amazingly on DGG) were an influence on his young pupil. Here are my Steinberg recommendations:
This thread should be a good candidate for 'last post by vandermolen' when I check it in several months time.  8)




Rimsky-Korsakov was his Father-in-Law.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 09:19:21 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2017, 12:21:53 AM »
I told you there would be no response  8)

Having listened again to the fine Symphony 4 'Turksib' (1933) it occurred to me that it might appeal to admirers of the equally unknown British composers Richard Arnell and Stanley Bate - something about the use of brass and also the memorable and sometimes moving (IMHO) thematic material. The start of the slow movement reminded me of the slow movement of Rudolph Simonsen's fine 'Hellas' Symphony. I thought of this before noticing that the CD was conducted by the fine conductor Martin Yates who also conducted the Arnell and Bate CDs for Dutton also with the RSNO. Christo might enjoy it.  ;)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 12:30:17 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline BasilValentine

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2017, 04:17:22 AM »
Wow! Like so much Soviet music in that era, the brass is just relentless — the whole section, along with the percussionists, must be exhausted after that. Even the rhapsody lets it loose in the central section.

Great orchestrator, and the thorough mastery of counterpoint one expects of anyone going through the conservatory system in that period. I could swear I've seen photos of Steinberg and Rachmaninoff together in their student days — Zverev's live-in students? But he was 10 years younger than Rachmaninoff.

Anyway, I will listen to his earlier music. Perhaps there is something a little less strident and more contemplative there — one hopes.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2017, 05:08:36 AM »
Wow! Like so much Soviet music in that era, the brass is just relentless — the whole section, along with the percussionists, must be exhausted after that. Even the rhapsody lets it loose in the central section.

Great orchestrator, and the thorough mastery of counterpoint one expects of anyone going through the conservatory system in that period. I could swear I've seen photos of Steinberg and Rachmaninoff together in their student days — Zverev's live-in students? But he was 10 years younger than Rachmaninoff.

Anyway, I will listen to his earlier music. Perhaps there is something a little less strident and more contemplative there — one hopes.
Hurray! A response. Thank you  :)

Yes, I agree. Try Symphony 2 (image above) a more restrained and much earlier work but with a great redemptive ending with use of the orchestral piano. I discovered that Miaskovsky's 11th Symphony is dedicated to Steinberg.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline BasilValentine

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2017, 06:22:35 AM »
Hurray! A response. Thank you  :)

Yes, I agree. Try Symphony 2 (image above) a more restrained and much earlier work but with a great redemptive ending with use of the orchestral piano. I discovered that Miaskovsky's 11th Symphony is dedicated to Steinberg.

I'll do that. The orchestration, language, and part of the rhapsody in the Fourth reminded me of Miaskovsky, in fact. Steinberg seems to have an ear for structure too. The music always moved with purpose.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2017, 09:15:18 AM »
I'll do that. The orchestration, language, and part of the rhapsody in the Fourth reminded me of Miaskovsky, in fact. Steinberg seems to have an ear for structure too. The music always moved with purpose.
Totally agree with you. An underrated composer I think. I wondered if Shostakovich in his use of the orchestral piano in his First Symphony was at all influenced by its use in his teacher Steinberg's 2nd Symphony.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2019, 12:55:57 AM »
Just bumping up this fine, inspiriting, melodic and memorable symphony:
Symphony 4 'Turksib':
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 09:26:09 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

SymphonicAddict

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 09:39:07 AM »
Just bumbling up this fine, inspiriting, melodic and memorable symphony:
Symphony 4 'Turksib':


You are tempting me to buy it, aren't you?  >:D  ;)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2019, 10:10:20 AM »
You are tempting me to buy it, aren't you?  >:D  ;)
Most definitely Cesar  >:D 8)

But I suspect that you won't regret doing so.

And thanks for being one of the select group who contribute to this thread.
 :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

SymphonicAddict

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2019, 04:18:11 PM »
Most definitely Cesar  >:D 8)

But I suspect that you won't regret doing so.

And thanks for being one of the select group who contribute to this thread.
 :)

Haha, I suspected it! Definitely I'm gonna order it and I'll let you know what I think of it.

It's always a pleasure to comment on composers threads whose music deserves more spread, like Steinberg.

Offline Daverz

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2019, 04:43:01 PM »
Huh, I was surprised to find that I had no music by this composer and probably had not heard any of his music.  Listening to the Järvi Symphony No. 2 now on Tidal.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2019, 09:02:04 PM »
Huh, I was surprised to find that I had no music by this composer and probably had not heard any of his music.  Listening to the Järvi Symphony No. 2 now on Tidal.

Excellent. Let us know what you think (even if you don't like it). It has a powerful, redemptive 'tolling bell' conclusion and I wouldn't be surprised if Shostakovich, Steinberg's pupil, was influenced by it in the use of the orchestral piano in his First Symphony.

Amazingly there are now (including myself) four contributors to this thread  :)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 09:12:22 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2019, 09:03:59 PM »
Haha, I suspected it! Definitely I'm gonna order it and I'll let you know what I think of it.

It's always a pleasure to comment on composers threads whose music deserves more spread, like Steinberg.

I'd be very interested to hear your views of it Cesar - I listened to it again yesterday with much pleasure. In as much as we have rather similar musical tastes I suspect that you will like it - I hope so anyway!
:)

PS it's on You Tube if you want to sample it.


« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 09:11:03 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline kyjo

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2019, 09:28:30 AM »
I very much like his darkly dramatic 2nd Symphony, especially - as Jeffrey points out - its striking, defiant ending. I must seek out more by him!
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2019, 09:33:00 AM »
I very much like his darkly dramatic 2nd Symphony, especially - as Jeffrey points out - its striking, defiant ending. I must seek out more by him!

Look out for Symphony 4 Kyle. It's on You Tube if you want to sample it. When I first bought it I 'couldn't stop playing it' to use a phrase which cilgwyn finds amusing.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Cato

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2019, 03:42:18 PM »
Reading the WIkipedia biography, I read a claim that the Communists had murdered (among the millions of others) Rimsky-Korsakov's son Vladimir.  Other Internet sites, however, claim that Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov lived until 1970.

Anyway, the Wikipedia writer connects the murder of Vladimir to the composition of Passion Week:

Quote
Steinberg scholar Oksana Lukonina believes that his decision to compose a work of religious music was motivated in part by the events of 1921. The poet Alexander Blok had died after being refused permission to go abroad for medical treatment. Also, Steinberg's brother-in-law, Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov, was arrested and shot by the Soviet secret police. Lukonina also sees Steinberg’s turn to chant-based choral music as a manifestation of renewed interest in the religious heritage of Russian culture shown by such other artists of the early Soviet period as the painter Mikhail Nesterov and, eventually, the Nobel Prize-winning poet and novelist Boris Pasternak.

In 1923, midway through the composition of Passion Week', the Communist Party of the Soviet Union banned the performance of all music with religious undertones. Upon receiving the news, Steinberg ruefully confided in his diary that he now had no chance of ever hearing Passion Week performed. In the vain hope that choirs in the West might be interested, Steinberg arranged in 1927 for the score to be published by a White emigre firm in Paris. The Paris edition appeared under the title, La Semaine de la Passion d’après les vieux chants religieux russes pour choeur mixte a cappella. Hoping that Passion Week might have wider appeal than just among the Russian diaspora, Steinberg arranged for the Paris edition to include translations of the sung text from Old Church Slavonic into both Latin and English.

And here is a 29-page essay on Steinberg and the work by a university student named Alexander Lingas:

http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/16597/1/Lingas%20Steinberg%20Passion%20Week%20MR%20Introduction%20-%20Plain%20Text.pdf


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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2019, 04:03:05 PM »
I very much enjoy symphonies 1 & 2, so I figure I will ultimately get #4 (along with the violin concerto) as well.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2019, 10:19:45 PM »
I very much enjoy symphonies 1 & 2, so I figure I will ultimately get #4 (along with the violin concerto) as well.
Interesting. I don't know No.1 but 2 and 4 are favourites of mine.
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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2019, 01:33:29 PM »
Just some minutes ago I played the Symphony No. 4 Turksib from the Dutton CD. Jeffrey was right about that work, it's exciting, colourful and memorable. One does notice the striking orchestration skills of Steinberg to get great pictorial effects (for something he was the son-in-law of Rimsky-Korsakov). There are some really nice folk songs that evoke the Asian landscapes, especially in the 2nd movement Rhapsody Songs of the Past and the Present. I really enjoyed this symphony. Thanks Jeffrey for the opportun suggestion!

Furthermore, I had to listen to the other 2 symphonies (splendidly recorded on DG under Järvi). I don't know what I was thinking about the No. 1, I was quite wrong on my appreciations because it's such a life-enhancing and sunny piece, very late-Romantic in idiom, close to the Glazunov's Symphony No. 8 in that respect. And later it came the No. 2. This is really impressive and dramatic, the antithesis of the No. 1. I love this piece, it may even be more accomplished than others I know. It's simply superb, just the kind of symphonies that appeal to me the most.

If I had to order them by preference, it would be 2, 4 and 1. I hope Naxos or other record label will record the remaining symphonies (No. 3 in G minor and No. 5 Symphonic Rhapsody on Uzbek Themes).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) thread.
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2019, 01:40:01 PM »
Just some minutes ago I played the Symphony No. 4 Turksib from the Dutton CD. Jeffrey was right about that work, it's exciting, colourful and memorable. One does notice the striking orchestration skills of Steinberg to get great pictorial effects (for something he was the son-in-law of Rimsky-Korsakov). There are some really nice folk songs that evoke the Asian landscapes, especially in the 2nd movement Rhapsody Songs of the Past and the Present. I really enjoyed this symphony. Thanks Jeffrey for the opportun suggestion!

Furthermore, I had to listen to the other 2 symphonies (splendidly recorded on DG under Järvi). I don't know what I was thinking about the No. 1, I was quite wrong on my appreciations because it's such a life-enhancing and sunny piece, very late-Romantic in idiom, close to the Glazunov's Symphony No. 8 in that respect. And later it came the No. 2. This is really impressive and dramatic, the antithesis of the No. 1. I love this piece, it may even be more accomplished than others I know. It's simply superb, just the kind of symphonies that appeal to me the most.

If I had to order them by preference, it would be 2, 4 and 1. I hope Naxos or other record label will record the remaining symphonies (No. 3 in G minor and No. 5 Symphonic Rhapsody on Uzbek Themes).
Hooray! I knew that you'd like it Cesar. Now, following your recommendation, I'll have to track down Symphony 1, especially if it's like Glazunov's 8th Symphony - which is one of my favourites.  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).